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Cognitive Framework

Cognitive approach emphasizes the positive and freewill aspects of human behavior and uses
concepts such as expectancy, demand, and intention. Cognition can be simply defined as the
act of knowing an item of information. In cognitive framework, cognitions precede behavior
and constitute input into the person’s thinking, perception, problem solving, and information
processing.

The work of Edward Tolman can be used to represent the cognitive theoretical approach.
According to Tolman, learning consists of the expectancy that a particular event will lead to a
particular consequence. This cognitive concept of expectancy implies that organism is
thinking about, or is conscious or aware of the goal and result of a behavior exhibited by it. It
means that a person desires a goal and also knows the behavior that will lead to achievement
of the goals.

In the subject of organizational behavior, cognitive approach dominates the units of analysis
such as perception, personality and attitudes, motivation, behavioral decision making and
goal setting.

Behavioristic Framework

Pioneer behaviorists Ivan Pavlov and Jon B. Watson stressed the importance of studying
observable behaviors instead of the elusive mind. They advocated that behavior could be best
understood in terms of stimulus and response (S-R). They examined the impact of stimulus
and felt that learning occurred when the S-R connection was made. Modern behaviorism, that
marks its beginning with B.F. Skinner, advocates that behavior in response to a stimulus is
contingent on environmental consequences. Thus, it is important to note that behaviortistic
approach is based on observable behavior and environmental variables (which are also
observable).

Social Cognitive Framework

Social learning theory takes the position that behavior can best be explained in terms of a
continuous reciprocal interaction among cognitive, behavioral, and environmental
determinants. The person and the environmental situation do not function as independent
units but, in conjunction with behavior itself, reciprocally interact to determine behavior. It
means that cognitive variables and environmental variables are relevant, but the experiences
generated by previous behavior also partly determine what a person becomes and can do,
which, in turn, affects subsequently behavior. A persons cognition or understanding changes
according to the experience of consequences of past behavior.

Bandura developed social learning theory into the more comprehensive social cognitive
theory (SCT). Stajkovic and Luthans have translated this SCT into the theoretical framework
for organizational behavior. Social cognitive theory recognizes the importance of
behaviorism’s contingent environmental consequences, but also includes cognitive processes
of self regulation. The social part acknowledges the social origins of much of human thought
and action (what individual learns from society), whereas the cognitive portion recognizes the
influential contribution of thought processes to human motivation, attitudes, and action. In
social cognitive theoretical framework, organizational participants are at the same time both
products and producers of their personality, respective environments, and behaviors. The
participants as a group of produce the environment, every individual is a product of the
enironment and through his behavior changes the environment for others as well as for
himself, every individual is a product of his personality, but also influences his personality as
consequence of results of his behavior.